All those who work within the construction industry owe the client a duty of care. This duty stems from the construction professional’s area of expertise, whether as an architect, surveyor, engineer or builder, and the job he or she has been contracted to perform – where there has been a breach of duty and loss or injury have occurred it may be necessary for the client to make a professional negligence claims against construction contractors professionals.
Issues of liability become less clear, however, where the negligence has been committed not by the main contractor but by a subcontractor working under its employ.
Healys are experts in dealing with Claims Against Construction Contractors, Contact us today if you feel you have been let down by your contractor or subcontractor. We offer free initial advice on your claim and if you do wish to proceed we offer a “No Win No Fee” service in a form of a Conditional Fee Agreement.
For a long time, following the 1934 ruling of Honeywill and Stein Limited v Larkin Brothers (London’s Commercial Photographers), it was held that the main contractor could be held liable for the negligence of a subcontractor, providing the subcontractor had been employed to carry out hazardous work.
However, in 2008 the Court of Appeal in London heard the case of Biffa Waste Services Ltd and Another v Maschinenfabrik Ernst Hese GmbH and Another and ruled that the “Honeywill rule” should be narrowed to apply in only certain exceptional cases.
The case related to a fire which had occurred as a result of the negligence of welders subcontracted to install a ball mill at a waste disposal depot.
The list of contractors and subcontractors involved in the incident reads is convoluted: the first defendant was contracted to design and build a waste disposal plant, they then engaged a second defendant to design a ball mill, who in turn subcontracted the installation to a third party (a welder) whose negligence caused the fire.
In clearing the original contractor of any liability, the Court of Appeal was critical of the Honeywill ruling and stated that its principle should be narrowed to apply “only to activities that are exceptionally dangerous whatever precautions are taken” – in the case of the welder it was clear that the welding had been carried out in the vicinity of “unwetted combustible material”.
If you have suffered financial loss or personal injury as a result of the negligence of a construction contractor or subcontractor, our professional negligence solicitors can help you proceed with Claims Against Construction Contractors professionals you believe to be liable.
We provide quick, clear and in-depth advice, and, with transparency on costs, can help you make the right decision as to your best course of action.